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back to article UK has no idea if it's selling spyware to evil regimes

The UK government says it isn't exercising any control over the sale of surveillance software nor stopping it from finding its way into the hands of repressive regimes. At the start of the month, Lord David Alton of Liverpool called on the Coalition to ban the export of espionage software and equipment, and questioned previous …

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Heres a better one

"It is better for men to build bridges than to build walls".

The Fender Telecaster was a much better invention than the AK47

Alex Harvey. R.I.P

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Headmaster

The Military List and Dual Exports

Short story is that if the product is not Military Listed, it is not controlled and no export licence is needed. Dual-use items get flagged up as dual use (usually by customs) at which point the supplier then needs to get an export licence. Slightly different rules apply to dual-use than to Military Listed although the assessment criteria is mostly the same.

No point criticising the Government for not controlling commercial software that has a variety of legitimate uses. If they did that for everything, the export business would grind to a messy crawl and you would hear the screams of anguish from the companies losing customers because of bureaucracy. They should only control what they realise can be used for nefarious purposes, sadly usually after someone else has figured it out first.

So the question that should be asked is should this software be made dual-use because there are examples of this happening? A good example to use is the sale of xboxes to Iraq under Husseing. They were blocked, even though they had no military connection (playing war games does not count!) because the Government realised that they could be dual-used to do number crunching for WMD programmes. The point is, that they have to know about it before they can control it. Does the Iran example provide 'sufficient cause'? ;)

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Big Brother

Dual-use software

I'm thinking....

“Friend Finder”

“Family Finder”

“Dissident Finder”

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Coat

that'd be tri-use software then surely

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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Anonymous Coward

I seem to remember...

..the US Gov't trying something similar with the export of 'munitions' encryption technologies. That worked out well. If implemented this will end up going the same way. It will be too bureaucratic - and scope will creep to encompass any monitoring software too - so companies fidn a work around (like moving off shore). Realistically It ain't gonna happen (regardless of whether or not it is a good idea).

If you want to help protect citizens from oppressive regimes then encourage the development and export of anti-spyware technologies. Promote privacy products. Like that's gonna happen either!

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